As this school year commences, I have little time left to kick into gear to insure my son has some opportunity to read for his own enjoyment before he graduates from high school. We do not lack for book stacks in our house: in my office, in our garage, on the dining room table, in the bedroom, on the stairs, on the coffee table, just about anywhere you look. I employ my son and his friends twice a year to help me with my job, which involves all these books. They help me unpack publisher catalog boxes, they sticker catalogs with my contact information, they remove the previous season’s catalogs and help tote the heaviest boxes of catalogs to the landfill for recycling, they sort through my samples and organize them in catalog order, and finally help me assemble my catalog mailings.
I talk to my son about the books I’m reading. He sees me and his dad reading all the time. I share all the exciting developments about my job with him, which author’s first book has just sold movie rights to Hollywood, the author that signed a copy of a book I loved. I have booksellers who look forward to seeing him during my summer swing through south Georgia and the panhandle of Florida, when he accompanies me on my sales calls. (Road trip!) Years ago, I took him to meet Rick Riordan, and Jeff Kinney when they traveled to Atlanta for book signings. When our beloved cat Lucy passed away, it was my son who comforted me and his dad with the spiritual wisdom he gained from reading The Warriors cat clan books. At a younger age, he and I enjoyed sharing the bounty of children’s books from my publishers with his elementary teachers and librarians. We’d pick a day and load up the car with boxes of picture books and take them to school and distribute them to his teachers. I think we enjoyed giving them away more than the teachers enjoyed receiving them. My son has experienced the business of books.
My son has not had the experience of a teacher with a classroom library who is book talking books, reading aloud in the classroom, modeling reading themselves, setting aside time for reading during class or encouraging enjoyment reading since the third grade. I’m afraid that reading is purely assignment driven, and the fun reading of Wimpy Kid and Percy Jackson is a distant memory. How much does he read for his own enjoyment, you ask? Not very much, sadly. So I’m kicking it into gear and making an effort to change that this year. I enlisted the help of the most talented 11th grade teacher I know (I’m looking at you, Paul W. Hankins!) and I asked him for a Top Ten List of Enjoyment Reading for a Guy in the 11th Grade. Between the two of us, I think we have a great selection that will undoubtedly grab his attention and hopefully kick start his own discovery of authors and books that he might share with me. I have already rounded up the titles listed here that I have at home, and will shop for the rest at one of my wonderful independent bookstores (as John Schumacher always says, “Support independent bookstores whenever possible.”) Yes, there are more than ten titles below because how can one stop at ten? Please share your top enjoyment reads for guys in the 11th grade. We have the whole school year to get through.
Here is a link to my bookshelf of these titles on Goodreads: enjoyment-eading-for-11th-gr-guys
Teresa Rolfe Kravtin (@trkravtin on Twitter) is a publisher representative in the southeast. You can read her blog A Rep Reading at http:arepreading.tumblr.com and find her book recommendations on Goodreads here: http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/1737994-teresa-rolfe.